DiMarco duo triumph at Abu Dhabi

European Tour

Tournament: Abu Dhabi Golf Championship
Venue: Abu Dhabi GC, UAE
WinnerChris DiMarco

Chris DiMarco ended a 4-year winless drought on Sunday when he surged past and then held off overnight leader Henrik Stenson to win the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship
The tenacious American, playing in his first-ever European Tour event outside the majors and the four World Golf Championship events, kept his nerve in a tense final round at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club to post a 5-under 67 for a winning 20-under 268.
Then, beaming broadly, the bull terrier of American Ryder Cup teams, paid tribute to his wife Amy, his stand-in caddy for the past four days.
“It was great to be able to walk up the 18th with a chance to win the tournament with her on the bag,” said DiMarco,
who had earlier revealed that the decision that she caddy for him for the first time in more than seven years was taken off the cuff.
“I think this happened for a reason.
“One of my brothers caddies for me and he couldn’t do it so on a whim a month ago I just said ‘Why don’t you go ahead and caddy again?’
“To have her on the bag when I won the golf tournament is unbelievable. It’s great for us as a couple to be able to experience that and I owe a lot to her this week. She knows how to slow me up when I get too fast,
“I think this was the most special win to have her out there with me and I told her that at one point.
“The last time she caddied for me was seven or eight years ago and I was a very mediocre player back then.
“She agrees I’ve got a lot better since, but I think she’s done with caddying for now.”
Stenson, who led Di Marco by just one shot after his dazzling, career best 62 on Saturday, but then lost his lead on the opening holes today when Di Marco opened his Sunday challenge with two birdies and an eagle, closed with a 69 to finish just one-shot back.
DiMarco admitted that Stenson’s fearsome drives from the tee had kept him on his toes all day.
“Henrik hits the ball a mile and he certainly kept the pressure on,” he said.
“He was hitting it easily 70 yards past me off the tee.
“But I enjoy that and I enjoy it with Tiger [Woods] because I’m a very good iron player and I love hitting first into the greens, putting my ball next to the pin and forcing them to have a look at it. That’s huge.
“I got off to a great start today, which really helped calm everything down and put me up in front where I felt I didn’t have to make birdies and I could put it in the middle of the green.”
Stenson said he was not overly concerned when he lost his lead and went two down after the first three holes.
“I felt relaxed as it was early in the round and I thought in the conditions that if I could get it going, I would have a fair chance of catching up,” the big-hitting Swede said.
“I just didn’t play well enough.
“Second is not that bad, but going out with a one-shot lead you always want to win.
“I’ve had a few second places now and I’d like to change it for a win, but it’s only the first tournament of the year so I’ll hopefully get plenty of chances.”
Spanish star Sergio Garcia finished in third place, just two shots back, after a storming round of 66, but because he handed in his card all of 45 minutes before the leaders arrived at the 18th green, he was forced him to watch from the sidelines and pray for a slip-up.
It never happened and in the end he had to accept that he had paid for his troubles early on in the event, when his scores did not measure up to his expectations.
The world No 6 said: “When you come to an event like this where you have so many good players, you know that you can’t afford to make many mistakes.
“I did pretty well this week but unfortunately the first days was my weakest day with the putts. Those three or four putts I missed on the first few days come to mind, and they made a huge difference.
“Although I missed a good amount of putts the last few days, I hit a lot of good ones too. When you hit so many shots close, you’re going to miss some. I guess that’s the explanation.”
The raft of low scores and the birdie blitz that rocked Saturday never looked possible in a final round much like the first two, with the wind once again showing it’s teeth and giving protection to a course that had looked so vulnerable on Saturday
With his great power off the tee proving to be a valuable asset on this long course,, Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez finished in 4th place on 17-under after a closing 68 with Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez two shots back in 5th after a somewhat disappointing 71.
Colin Montgomerie, the European Tour Order of Merit winner for the eighth time last year, was never able to get his challenge off the ground and wound up seven shots adrift of the lead in a tie with India’s Jyoti Randhawa on 13 under.
The world number 10 had hoped to shoot successive 65s to give himself a chance of victory, but an inconsistent round of 70 undid his grand plan
His playing partner, Vijay Singh, was also out of touch, the Fijian World No 2 posting a closing 70 to wind up at 11 under and tied for 8th with Charl Schwartzel.
This after the 21-year-old young South African, who had led after round two, could only come up with a 2-over 74 on the final day.
ALL THE FINAL SCORES
(Gbr and Irl unless stated, par 72):
268 Chris DiMarco (USA) 71 67 63 67
269 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 69 69 62 69
270 Sergio Garcia (Spa) 70 69 65 66
271 Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg) 68 68 67 68
273 Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) 70 68 64 71
275 Jyoti Randhawa (Ind) 71 70 69 65, Colin Montgomerie 72 68 65 70
277 Vijay Singh (Fij) 68 70 69 70, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 69 66 68 74
278 Ian Poulter 72 69 68 69, David Lynn 69 69 70 70
279 Zhang Lian-wei (Chn) 74 69 68 68, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 68 69 73 69, Andrew McLardy (Rsa) 71 70 69 69, Mark Foster 71 70 69 69, Francois Delamontagne (Fra) 71 69 69 70
280 Paul Broadhurst 73 71 68 68, Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 72 70 69 69, Damien McGrane 70 69 71 70
281 Ignacio Garrido (Spa) 70 69 71 71, Richard Green (Aus) 70 70 70 71, Phillip Price 73 70 67 71, Keith Horne (Rsa) 66 74 71 70
282 Stephen Dodd 73 71 70 68, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 73 68 71 70, Jose-Filipe Lima (Por) 70 68 73 71, John Bickerton 72 70 68 72, Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 72 70 68 72, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 74 69 67 72
283 Anders Hansen (Den) 73 70 72 68, Gregory Havret (Fra) 70 68 74 71, Steve Webster 73 66 72 72, Marcus Fraser 73 69 68 73, Robert Karlsson (Swe) 73 69 67 74
284 Gordon Brand Jnr 72 69 73 70, Jamie Spence 71 69 73 71, Oliver Wilson 72 69 72 71
285 Jean-Francois Remesy (Fra) 73 70 73 69, Peter Gustafsson (Swe) 69 73 73 70, Gary Emerson 73 69 73 70, David Park 73 66 75 71, Francesco Molinari (Ita) 73 70 71 71, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 74 70 70 71, Simon Wakefield 75 68 68 74
286 Anthony Wall 73 70 74 69, Nick Dougherty 74 70 72 70, Shiv Kapur (Ind) 75 66 73 72, Marc Cayeux (Zim) 71 71 72 72, Paul Casey 72 72 70 72
287 Graeme Storm 72 72 73 70, Richard Bland 70 72 74 71, Ross Bain 69 73 74 71, Peter Hedblom (Swe) 73 70 73 71, Constantino Rocca (Ita) 71 73 71 72, Fredrik Widmark (Swe) 72 72 71 72, Miguel Angel Martin (Spa) 74 69 71 73, Barry Lane 73 71 70 73, Alastair Forsyth 70 74 70 73, Gary Orr 74 70 69 74, Soren Hansen (Den) 70 66 74 77
288 Ian Garbutt 73 71 71 73, Peter Hanson (Swe) 73 69 71 75, Jose Manuel Lara (Spa) 71 71 69 77
289 Richard Sterne (Rsa) 75 69 72 73, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 70 74 71 74
290 Mattias Eliasson (Swe) 73 68 76 73, Mikael Lundberg (Swe) 72 72 73 73, Stuart Little 72 72 70 76, Maarten Lafeber (Ned) 71 70 72 77
293 Jean-Francois Lucquin (Fra) 71 72 74 76